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Stealing images is easier than ever

September 20, 2009

Re: David Lazarus' consumer column "Post a photo, pay the penalty," Sept. 13:

As a photographer, my income comes from licensing my intellectual property. It is called property because it belongs to someone, like a car or a house. It is made by an artist, a photographer or other creator using imagination, talent and, in most cases, hard work.

But it seems that with intellectual property, the morality of negotiating and agreeing between equals has changed. With the increasing ease of swiping work on the Internet, many people seem to think, "If I see it, if I want it, I can have it, without paying the person who legally owns it."

Leif Skoogfors



The amount you suggest as a penalty for failing to pay for an image -- "five times the original licensing fee" -- is not much of a punishment and doesn't compensate the company for the theft of intellectual property. That low of a punishment would only encourage more theft. The small-business owner who was fined by Getty Images should have gone back to the Web designer and got the money from them or taken them to small claims court.

Rick Smith

Laguna Beach

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